This article in the Harvard Business Review by Scott Berinato, speaks evocatively of grief, an emotion generally difficult to access in all its forms. It often surfaces in its forms of sadness and loss after working with the more apparent feelings of worry, fear, frustration, annoyance, anger.
This is very apparent to me as a psychotherapist when working with clients who present with anxiety, fear, panic attacks, anger issues. These layers of emotions surface consistently thanks to the effectiveness of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), which I integrate into my practice along with talk therapy.
David Kessler says in the article, “Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies”. He’s absolutely right, and acceptance is the first port of call and a powerful aspect of EFT (Emotional freedom Techniques).
Kessler also talks about coming “into the present” to deal with the pain of grief. When we use EFT we focus on noticing how we are feeling right now, which brings us into the present very quickly.
In my experience there is nothing as powerfully effective as EFT to help access feelings and process our emotions. EFT is my answer to the ‘HOW’ asked in the article.
A mind-body modality that is safe, gentle, and non-invasive, EFT combines a gentle touch with conscious attention while we verbalise our thoughts and feelings. We tap with our fingertips on acupressure points on the hands, face and body while focusing on an issue we wish to resolve.
Combining the physical benefits of acupuncture with the cognitive and linguistic benefits of conventional talk therapy, this somatic-cognitive approach is often referred to as a psychological version of acupuncture, without the needles.
EFT operates on the premise that no matter what part of your life needs to change for the better, there are unresolved emotional issues in the way. Tapping as we talk allows an acknowledgement, flow and release of uncomfortable feelings like anger, hurt, guilt, fear or grief which may be affecting and limiting our daily lives. Using this technique helps to become aware of the negative thoughts and beliefs behind our emotional experiences, so we can change them to more helpful ones.
EFT is a form of Energy Psychology, the name for a broad range of psychological treatments that utilise the human energy system. : Energy Psychology in the Age of Covid-19: What does the research say? Research demonstrates, time and again, that energy psychology methods can very effectively address anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress. Even more strikingly, recent research suggests that energy psychology can boost our immunity, and thus may help keep us from getting sick. [Read more…] : The Science and Research Behind EFT Tapping [Watch videos + Read more…]
: Press Release from EFT International: Tapping “Can Reduce Coronavirus Anxiety” – New research suggests EFT tapping can reduce stress hormone levels [PDF of press release… ]
EFT helps with emotional as well as physical pain. Unresolved negative experiences reside as triggers and disruptions in our mind and body. The physical symptoms we feel from those disruptions (for example, tightening of chest, clenched stomach, heart racing, etc), become attached to the memory of that experience and affect the way we see the world, until we clear that disruption. Properly applied, EFT balances our autonomic nervous system and realigns our neural pathways; this disconnects the physical discomfort that we attach to negative feelings and memories, which often helps to remove the original symptoms.
EFT has yielded remarkable results for relieving emotional as well as physical distress, and often works when nothing else will. Since it does not involve drugs or other medical interventions, it is different from conventional medical approaches, and is beginning to gain wider and wider recognition within the mainstream psychotherapy and medical community.
Watch a video introduction to EFT here (by Gary Craig, founder of EFT):
Watch Professor Tony Stewart, a specialist in public health, talking about EFT on BBC News:
EFT has proven effective with a wide range of both physical and emotional issues. EFT Can Help to:
Diminish anxiety and anxious fears and feelings
Release and transform painful, uncomfortable feelings like anger, guilt, grief, fear, etc.
Heal the effects of emotional trauma, including PTSD symptoms
Diminish cravings for foods and addictive substances
Resolve emotional eating and weight issues
Address relationship problems
Gain clarity to make decisions
Relieve symptoms of insomnia
Increase self-esteem, self-empowerment and confidence
Improve or even eliminate chronic physical discomfort or pain
Enhance performance in any area; sports, musical, artistic, professional, sexual, etc.
Resolve financial blocks
Increase energy and productivity
Empower children, parents and families
Benefit the lives of animals
Move us beyond negative, self-limiting thoughts and beliefs toward positive change
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl
PTSD Treated Successfully in 10 Sessions or Less: Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest hospital systems in the US, taking care of more than 10 million patients each year. Kaiser’s peer-reviewed publication, The Permanente Journal, recently published practice guidelines for using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) with patients diagnosed with PTSD (Church, Stern et al., 2017).
Larry Burk, M.D., writes about EFT going mainstream, like how the APA has finally granted continuing education credits for psychologists to study EFT tapping, also known as energy psychology.
Nick Ortner, writing for the Huffington Post, talks about the science behind EFT in his article, Breakthroughs in Energy Psychology, citing research which confirms that tapping on specific meridian points has a positive effect on cortisol levels.
Is EFT only an energy based technique?
It is a combination of acupressure, talk therapy and modern psycho-therapeutic tools like NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and EMDR (Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). The affirmations used in EFT are derived from NLP, and the 9 gamut procedure is similar to the process used in EMDR.
EFT also includes statements on self-acceptance – in therapy, the way we talk to ourselves is one of the most important tools in changing thought and behaviour patterns.
Is EFT safe?
It is completely safe and there are no known negative side effects.
Is EFT a distraction technique?
Distraction is “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else”. EFT requires a complete focus on the problem or issue throughout the session. Affirmations and reminder phrases are also used to keep a focus on the specific issue.
Why do we affirm the negatives in EFT?
Sometimes people are resistant to focusing on the negative while tapping. Either for fear of feeling the feeling, or fearing this will attract more negativity, or some other similar reason.
But one is already feeling these feelings. By identifying then vocalising them, one is bringing up that energy in the body and clearing the negative feelings, instead of suppressing them and having them subconsciously run one’s life. Expressing the negative statements serves to clear them energetically from the body-mind system.
Once you let go and clear, then you have room to bring in what you choose to feel instead. EFT brings one’s energy back to balance so negative feelings don’t stay there.